All-Star Case Studies

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2021 Case Study - Tnemec

Kansas City, MO

2020 Revenues:
$135 million

Employees: 316

Critical Numbers™: Net Profit %

Organization Background

Founded in 1921, Tnemec (which is cement spelled backward) manufactures and distributes high-performance coatings and linings that protect surfaces and structures from corrosion.


As a business that will be celebrating its 100th anniversary, Tnemec has a long history and reputation as a special place to work. Case in point: two current employees have each worked for the company for 49 years and counting. While the company had always shared summary financial information each quarter, and paid annual bonuses, the leadership team saw an opportunity to take their entrepreneurial culture to the next level.


The Tnemec leadership team began discussing the idea of implementing The Great Game of Business® (GGOB) in 2018 and, after making the commitment to hire their coach, Kevin Walter, and charging their design team to lay the foundation, they officially launched in February of 2020—which included the decision to fully close the company for one entire day and allow every employee the chance to attend the national launch simultaneously.


While Tnemec’s revenues fell short of their plan in 2020, they beat their Critical Number goal of 4% net profit by finishing the year at 4.2%—which earned the team a $1.5 million bonus, the largest the company had paid out since 2013. “Without the level of communication we achieved because we were practicing GGOB, there would have been no way we could have achieved this level of performance,” says CFO Wendy Wade, who has worked for Tnemac for 33 years. “By training everyone to understand the basic components of how a company measures performance in terms of profitability, we set the groundwork for creating entrepreneurs.”

“The Game has opened up a whole new way of communication, employee empowerment and engagement. Employees understand how they each make an individual contribution to the overall organization and have a clear understanding of the company finances. The Game fit well with our company culture and has strengthened our ability to work together and focus on the overall goals of the company; while having fun at the same time.”

~ Kyle Frakes, Director of Technical and Regulatory Affairs

Spotlight on the Pandemic

While Tnemec continued to operate throughout the pandemic as an essential business, they relied on the rhythm of what they called their “National Huddle” to keep everyone informed and engaged—while also creating focus on cutting costs and boosting revenue. “I tell people I have no idea how we would have gotten through the pandemic without GGOB,” says Cory Brown, Executive Vice President, who's worked for the company for 25 years. Those same principles apply even today, as the company continues to manage the most widespread chemical supply chain interruption the industry has ever seen. “Because of the Great Game culture, we have been able to operate better than the competition and deliver sales higher than we forecasted by double digit percentages,” says Brown, noting that the company continues to receive email and phone calls from their outside sales agencies praising how well they have performed through these challenging times.  


MiniGame™ Spotlight

After launching GGOB, the Tnemec team also kicked off 13 different MiniGames through their multiple departments and locations. One of their most effective games was called “Got Wood,” which involved recycling 48” x 48” pallets. In one month alone, the team saved more than $6,000. The game was so successful in generating substantial cost savings that it’s become part of the scoreboards in multiple departments as a way to track that behavior moving forward.

“The Game is allowing employees to understand and participate more freely in decisions and how those decisions impact profits, which affects the employee bonus pool. Employees are looking for ways to save, review processes, procedures, and day to day tasks in determining the best way to proceed. It is helping to reduce the ‘that is the way we have always done it’ attitudes.”

~ Ron Schimmel, Director of Operations

What’s Next

One of the priorities for Tnemec’s leadership team is to work with its Board of Directors to rethink their approach for their A Stake in the Outcome® bonus program. They also see plenty of opportunities for more training, more MiniGames opportunities, and overall, injecting more excitement and involvement in the weekly huddles. They’ve also invested in joining the Great Game Community as a way to use its resources to help supplement the training of their employees with an eye to sustaining GGOB into the future. “GGOB has become an essential tool for our business,” says Chase Bean, Tnemec’s president and CEO.


“I believe all employees feel more engaged in making the company more successful. By creating The Game atmosphere employees have become more empowered to find ways to save Tnemec money as well as improve time management for each employee and department.”

~ Tammy Hudlemeyer, Administrative Assistant R&D





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